Make your own throwing circle

See also How to make your own jacks.

Traditionally players drew throwing circles in the dirt using a toe, a finger, or a stick. Some liked to carry a special circle-drawing tool.

Plastic circles were introduced about 2005 and quickly became popular. Today, you can buy circles at the Petanque America web site. They work well, but they’re expensive to buy and expensive to ship. That’s why players often choose to to make their own.

How to make a throwing circle from plastic tubing

FIPJP rules specify that the (inside) diameter of a plastic throwing circle should be 50 centimeters. Using this number and the magic of π we get a circumference of 157 centimeters. That’s 62″, or almost exactly 5’2″.

My local hardware store sells plastic tubing for about $0.50 per foot. So I bought 6 feet ($3.00).

I cut off a 62″ length of tubing, and also a short section of tubing about 2 inches long. I split the short section in half lengthwise and used one of the halves as a splint to join the two open ends of the 62″ length, so the tubing formed a closed circle. Voila, une rond.

Unfortunately, the tubing that I had bought had been coiled into small tight loops at the hardware store. The tubing always wanted to return to those tight little loops and my circle refused to be truly circular.

I went back to the hardware store and found some tubing that had been coiled into larger, looser loops. It was made out of (I think) 3/8″ PVC. When I made a throwing circle from it, the shape was very nearly an exact geometric circle.

Ignoring the failed first prototype, the total cost for my home-made circle was about $3.00.

The basic equipment that you need to get started playing petanque

Generic set of boules at Petanque America online store

Generic set of boules at Petanque America online store


Two sets of the generic set of boules ordered from the Petanque America online store. Comes with two jacks.

Cost = $50 + shipping = $63

There has been a slight price increase since this post was first published in July 2012.

Tape measure

I found a very nice metric tape measure for around $10. Read buying a tape measure.

Throwing circle

Strictly speaking, you don’t need a plastic throwing circle — you can always play the traditional way, by drawing the circle in the dirt. Nevertheless, a plastic circle is very convenient.

I made a usable throwing circle for $3.00, using plastic tubing that I bought at my local hardware store. Read about how to make an inexpensive throwing circle.

A boule towel

For toweling off the dusty boules after the end of rounds, I cut the leg off of an old pair of jeans in my rag bin. Cost = free.

Total cost
$63 (boules) + $10 (tape measure) + $3 (tubing rond) = about $76.